New CNN Host Jake Tapper Has Rough Opening Week in Ratings

Struggling cabler's afternoon show 'The Lead' draws smaller crowd than what it replaced

CNN must hope it can only go up from here, because its new afternoon program hosted by Jake Tapper didn’t draw much of an audience in its first week.

Tapper, the former White House correspondent for ABC News and one of the new faces of CNN under recently installed chief Jeff Zucker, averaged 352,000 viewers in the 4 p.m. ET hour last week, according to Nielsen — down 39% from the net’s average the previous week in the same timeslot (576,000 for “Situation Room”).

Competitively, “The Lead with Jake Tapper” lagged MSNBC’s “Martin Bashir” (409,000) and was just a fraction of the audience garnered by Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” (1.17 million).

And in the key news demo of adults 25-54, Tapper fared even worse, with its 78,000 viewers on average down 44% from the 139,000 for “Situation Room.” By comparison, Bashir averaged 92,000 and Cavuto drew 171,000.

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